Saturday, April 27, 2013

Theme of Violence in 'The Curse' which affects two characters

Discuss the theme of violence in the ‘The Curse’ and how violence has affected the life of two characters in the story.

          The novel I have chosen is ‘The Curse’.  The theme of violence is prevalent in the novel. The first character that has been affected by violence is Azreen.  From the very beginning, we can see how Azreen has been subjected to violence in her childhood.  Saleh Abdullah was a very stern father who would not hesitate to discipline Azreen whenever she was defiant or rebellious as a child.  Her mother, when reprimanding her for slapping a classmate in school has reminded her that her father has punished her ‘a thousand times’ whenever she misbehaved, yet she was so stubborn.  One incident was when Azreen’s father accused her of stealing mangosteens from the estate and she was caned severly by her father and scolded by her mother.  Her parents refused to believe that she was telling the truth when she said she only picked the ripe fruits from the ground.  Azreen reacted to the beating by not eating her dinner and sulking in her room.

          Violence begets violence.  Azreen threatened to hit Mohd Asraf with a hockey stick between his ears when he tried to tell her she was ‘ganas’ or aggressive. Azreen did not think twice about taking part in the silat-cum-boxing matches in her school even though she was a girl.  In one match, she ended up giving an innocent spectator a bleeding nose.  Azreen did not change her ways even when she grew older.  After the Old Lady’s death, Azreen turned on Mohd Asraf who was irresponsible, like a wild cat.  She beat him, scratched him and kicked him till she broke down in exhaustion.  She was angry because of his stupidity and anger.

          Another incident of violence is when her parents thought she was responsible for the motorcycle accident with the bull that has caused her mother to be paralysed.  Azreen has to go to bed with slases of rotan all over her legs and back.  Ever since that incident, the relationship between Azreen and her father has been strained.  Azreen found it hard to forgive her father when she learned that he was the one who had killed her sister with his parang.  It was only after he has died that Azreen can put the past behind her.

          Another character that has been affected by violence is the Old Lady.  She was a beautiful, modern and educated young woman who has the misfortune of marrying a man who was a wife abuser.  Ever since he lost his job, he has been drinking heavily and returning home late every evening.  Then he started to hit her.  First, it was a slap on the face and he apologized when he was sober.  She forgave him. The following week, she was hit again.  He hit her on the chin, a shard of broken bottle he was holding slashing her on her neck. The hast straw was when he kneed her in the stomach and kicked her when she was down.  When he pounced on her, she stabbed him with the kitchen knife.  Her whole life changed after that incident.  Even though the police listened to her story and let her go free, the damage was done.  She was seen as a husband-killer.  She was a mad woman who has slashed her husband to death in the kitchen.  All her friends avoided her like a leper and she was forced to live alone in an abandoned house in the jungle.  Many superstitious stories were created about her and people in the village were afraid of her.  They would not let her come back to the village.  When she relented to go to Mohd Asraf’s grandmother’s house to see whether she could help her, she incurred the villagers’ wrath and they tried to chase her away.   When Mohd Asraf’s grandmother died, he led a mob to her house in the jungle and subsequently the Old Lady was killed in a fire that burnt down her house.

          Violence is never a good thing.  It should be avoided at any cause. We can seethe harm that violence does to people as seen from the characters of Azreen and the Old Lady.

(Sharing purpose: Taken from Baby Steps The Curse & Poetry Form 5, Setia Emas)

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